Goats Head Soup
Ten Songs That Made Me Love....
published: 29 /
Dastardly in 'Ten Songs That Made Love...' reflects on all ten songs on the Rolling Stones' 1973 masterpiece, 'Goats Head Soup'.
It’s the cover, isn’t it? What’s going on there? Mick as a woman. Mick as a woman in a plastic bag. I can’t get no suffocation. I mean it’s not exactly ‘Sticky Fingers’ with its cheeky zipper, is it, or the vinyl ‘Let it Bleed’ cake? “I’ll pass thanks” is what I probably thought as I leafed through my Dad’s record collection one day in 1979, and then probably found a much more enticing picture of an airship engulfed in flames.
So it was many years later – thirty-seven in total - that I finally engaged with this record and, apart from ‘Angie’ and the starfucker song which have both passed into rock folklore, the rest was a revelation.
1. ‘Dancing with Mr. D’
“Mr Keith Richards invents perpetual motion riff,” The Financial Times didn’t declare back in 1973, “..solves world energy crisis.” Keef is snaking all over this track with an infinity-teasing swamp guitar line as Mick ruminates on mortality and the many different ways your life might end. “A drink of belladonna on a Toussaint Night” maybe? If anyone knows what a ‘Toussaint Night’ is please enlighten me. One thing’s for sure, if the alien asks you for an example of the Stones grooving at their knowing, poker-faced best then you know which track to put on.
2. ‘100 Years Ago’
Ah, that Billy Preston funky clavinet intro. Mick Taylor’s wah wah’d guitar framing the phrases and then leading the track off to a fair old wig out. Not before Mick’s broken it all back down with a honky “laaazyyyy bones” midnight rambler-lite interlude. Then check out Charlie’s kick back in at 2:39 as he smacks it down into third. Can you see the hair on those horses’ necks?
3. ‘Coming Down Again’
Here’s the nugget. This song doesn’t so much start as just unfurl for about six minutes. Keith on the mic this time – “Slipped my tongue in someone else’s pie.” Oops. Remember readers, always let anything you take out the oven stand for a few minutes. Nicky Hopkins’ piano is just lush throughout and Bobby Keys threads in a nice sax meander. A few tasty BVs from Mick and we’re there. Next week on ‘Country Rock Kitchen’ the Small Faces serve up a delicious blueberry cheesecake.
4. ‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)’
More familiar Stones territory here. Mick is leading this one with his story of a young man, presumably innocent, shot dead by the police in New York. Righteous Motown horns bring the drama and Mick will make you believe he grew up over the bridge in Queens rather than Dartford. That’s performance.
Some songs are laced with so much stellar DNA that it’s hard to imagine they were created by mere earthlings. Back in the command module Nicky Hopkins adds yet another luscious piano track.
6. ‘Silver Train’
Rhythm and Blues. Bit of a cousin of ‘Happy’ this one. Slide guitar tooting as the train track flickers past underneath. It’s all about the movement, maaaan. They were from Dartford, you say? Dartford on the outskirts of London? Can you just double-check that for me please? Thank you.
7. ‘Hide Your Love’
Sounds like ‘Hide Your Love’ was late leaving the ‘Exile’ party and arrives on ‘Goats Head Soup’ still loaded. With other drivers at the wheel this might just be a Ford Mondeo pulling out of the Asda car park near Charlton. With Mick and Keef it’s a Crimson Pontiac out on the interstate. Mick’s vocals parping like a horn section.
Part of the romance of Rock Superstardom is us imagining their imaginary lives. On ‘Winter’ Mick indulges us and gives us a little glimpse. You can see the coat. You know the colour of the programme card and typeface for the restoration play. Backstage Mick Taylor and the orchestra bow to each other. The End.
9. ‘Can You Hear the Music?’
“Musicians are just glorified aerials walking around in search of signals. Discuss.” Sometimes it certainly seems that way when songs from a certain era appear to have similar lineage. ‘Can You Hear the Music?’ and the Who’s ‘Join Together’ were both recorded in 1972 and seem to be holding up a mirror to this thing called ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ and examining what it is to make it and perform it. Another good couple of tracks for the mixtape for that alien then..
10. ‘Star Star’
The starfucker song. ‘Yes you are, yes you are..’ That’s them told.
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